Freeland shines in season debut for Grand Junction

Rockies No. 3 prospect throws 3 hitless frames and strikes out 3 in his first outing of the year

Freeland shines in season debut for Grand Junction

Kyle Freeland began his season a little later than his peers, but he already looks comfortable.

The Rockies' No. 3 prospect (No. 47 overall) tossed three hitless innings in his 2015 debut for Rookie-level Grand Junction on Friday night, striking out three while walking one. Drafted No. 8 overall by Colorado last year, Freeland went 3-0 with a 1.15 ERA in 10 starts for Grand Junction and Class A Asheville while piling up 33 strikeouts against six walks.

The 22-year-old missed the first few months of this season after surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow, as well as shoulder fatigue. But he appears in top form now.

"I'm looking at it as a way of getting my arm strength back and getting mentally prepared to pitch in a game," Freeland told The Denver Post this week. "I'm hopeful of getting as many starts as I can in what's left of the season, but also being careful and watching the pitch count. I'm just taking it start by start."

Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.